The Implications Of The Balkan Crisis Essay

1763 Words Jan 27th, 2015 8 Pages
In 1888, Otto von Bismarck remarked that “the next great European war will probably come out of some damn foolish thing in the Balkans.” (Massie, p. 82) At the time, he was referring to the aftermath of the Serbo-Bulgarian war, which managed, in a series of resonating blows, to shatter the Ottoman Empire’s tenuous grasp on the Balkans and splinter the League of Three Empires. Over the next forty years, the ever-fluid situation in the Balkans ebbed and flowed, but never strayed far from a point of complete catastrophe. The decaying behemoth of the Porte disintegrated, replaced with a proliferation of nascent Southern Slav states, intent on empowering their particular clade with no regard to the tensions pervading Europe. Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination at the hands of an ardent Serbian nationalist might have been the gentle shove that pushed Europe into a conflagration of goliath proportions, but war itself was inevitable. The Balkan crises were merely catalysts for the degeneration of European order; the underlying tensions fomented by a set of engulfing alliances, an exorbitant arms race, and the resurgent nationalism of a generation unmarred by battle lead Europe past the brink of cataclysm. Bismarck might have been prescient, but his network of interlocking alliances laid a backdrop for the Great War – one that could not be forestalled by any man. Peacetime alliances were simply nonexistent in Europe before the Franco-Prussian War. There were, of…

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